Damage From Brass Knuckles: A Guide to Legality

Brass knuckles, also known as ‘duster knuckles’ or ‘knuckles,’ are metal guards placed over your knuckles for the purposes of combat. Composed of brass, steel, or other hard plastics, damage from brass knuckles can be severe. Broken bones, lacerations, and concussions can all result if struck with brass knuckles. The dangers of brass knuckles have prompted various states and local jurisdictions to enact brass knuckle laws. In this article, we’ll look into the question of “are brass knuckles illegal?”

Popularity of Brass Knuckles

Historians believe brass knuckles originated from ancient Greece and Rome, where they were used during gladiator matches. Over time, they grew in popularity among American soldiers in both World War I and World War II. Soldiers would attach brass knuckles to a seven-inch knife named the “Mark I Trench Knife” in close combat situations. In recent times, mainstream media such as The Sopranos, The Simpsons, Grand Theft Auto, and others began featuring brass knuckles in their shows and video games. As a result, brass knuckles have a certain appeal among weapon aficionados and are glamorized among the general population today.  While growing in popularity, the dangers of brass knuckles are well-known. Bone fractures, cuts, concussions, and internal injuries can all result from a blow with this weapon. In some cases, metal knuckles may even inflict death. With the growing popularity and the dangers of severe damage from brass knuckles, state officials are taking a closer look at the issue of whether brass knuckles should be legal.

Brass Knuckles and the Law

Are knuckle dusters illegal in the US? While there are generally no regulations governing brass or plastic brass knuckles on the federal level, state or county-level legislation does exist. For instance, states such as Nevada, California, and New York all outlaw brass knuckles. This ban typically includes buying, selling, manufacturing, repairing, or carrying the weapon. States like Colorado and Illinois even prohibit wearing brass knuckles as jewelry.  Other states like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia permit the ownership of legal knuckle dusters. However, there are generally state-specific limitations and conditions for their use. It is legal to own and carry brass knuckles in Georgia, for example, but it is a criminal act to injure another person with it. Similarly, prior to September 2019, it was illegal for Texans to carry brass knuckles. Now, residents are permitted to possess brass knuckles for self-defense purposes. Certain states require a license or permit to carry brass knuckles. Some of these states requiring permits include Alabama, Florida, Oregon, and Virginia.

Brass Knuckles and Your Legal Rights

Before purchasing or carrying brass knuckles, you must understand your legal rights. As mentioned, state laws all vary depending on your particular state legislation. Consequences for violating state laws can result in misdemeanors or even a felony in some cases. Violators could face fines, lawsuits, or jail time if the offense was severe enough. Under Nevada law, you are not allowed to manufacture or possess a list of dangerous weapons that includes metal knuckles. Whether it’s a full set or a one finger knuckle duster, legal issues will arise if you get caught with one. However, due to the wording of the law, there may be provisions for legal knuckle dusters if they were made out of materials other than metal. For instance, knuckles may be permitted if they were made out of plastic or ceramic, instead of brass. Some states are a bit more vague in regards to your legal rights of possessing brass knuckles. In states like Idaho and Utah, there are no explicit state laws indicating whether you are allowed to carry this type of weapon. It is, therefore, up to the courts to decide whether the knuckles were used with criminal intent along with the associated consequences. Regardless of state, contact a local attorney to ensure you understand all the rights and legalities of owning brass knuckles. 

Brass Knuckle Legal Tips

Before you decide to carry or purchase brass knuckles, consider the following legal tips:

  • Understand local laws: Check with your state or local laws on the legalities of brass knuckles. As mentioned, just because the law does not explicitly outlaw this type of weapon, does not mean there aren’t other conditions you must comply with.
  • Be cautious: Why are brass knuckles illegal in so many jurisdictions? Quite simply, they are weapons and should be handled with extreme caution. Major or minor damage from brass knuckles can result in a civil lawsuit or even criminal charges.
  • Consult with an attorney: If you sustained injuries as a result of the intentional or negligent use of brass knuckles from another person, speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

Valiente Mott

Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys cater our services to help victims. We work hard to ensure you receive the best legal advice so you can begin your path to recovery. If you or your loved one suffered injuries due to a negligent act, contact us today for your free consultation! 

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